Global Hunger Index Reflects A Bleak Picture of South Asia
From EDITOR's desk
The 2010 Global Hunger Index report prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows an alarming situation of South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa where some 29 countries in this region paints a gloomy picture, revealing the alarming hunger level, children mortality rate and large amount of undernourished people in the country. The unfortunate part is governments largely overlooked the perils of ground reality.
Different international bodies like Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have submitted reports on various developments in some particular regions. The report also highlighted some dominant developing countries into the hunger prone countries such as India stood 67 rank lower than Pakistan (52). It is reported that one of the fastest growing economies of the Asia, India has the highest prevalence of underweight children, at around 40 per cent, in Asia.
The report asked interventions; using evidence based and locally appropriate approaches are required from the conception stage up to the age of two in order to bring down hunger levels. There are methods of giving appropriate nutrition to pregnant and lactating women, educate sound infant nursing techniques, emphasis on hygiene and providing appropriate vitamin supplements. The report also suggested corporate bodies to take initiation but gave impetus to government enthusiasm to put this into political agenda.
Most of the cases of hunger related death or malnutrition is because of helplessness of the people to combat hunger in the absence of resources. The report suggested governments to being proactive on policies focusing underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition. Specifically a country like India where hunger is chiefly a man-made phenomenon and people suffer because of inadequacy of proper functioning of local bodies and corruption, the government proactive participation will prove to be effective against unwarranted deaths and undernourished people.
Within Asia, the graph of lowering underweight children is mercurial. The rate of reduction of undernourished children in India has been slower than other countries. The report highlighted the reduction rate of malnutrition in China from 1990 to 2002, showing a drastic reduction from 25 per cent to 8 per cent. In Malaysia, the proportion of children who were underweight decreased from 22 per cent in 1990 to 7 per cent in 2005, owing to its exponential economic growth and education among women and children. The report emphasized on structured policy regarding child nutrition, food security among below poverty citizens, dissipation of education among mothers, proper health services, water and sanitation.
Thailand has a little different story where government didn’t take measures just as a welfare factor but as a whole development factor. As a result invested heavily in health, sanitation and education in 1980s and the success showed in the way of drastic reduction child malnutrition in less than a decade.
The shocking report of IFPRI seems doesn’t stir governments and in 2011 the situation remain same to an agricultural worker in Bangladesh or to an anganwadi worker in India. The issue is same but with different dimensions and differences.